Sunday 29 November 2015

The Canals of Milan

Excellent Pizza in Milano

Canals are not the sole preserve of Venice.
The Duomo, built by materials transported by the canals

I was lucky enough to say in Navigli, one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in Milan and it is only ten minutes on Tram number 3 to the Duomo.

Southwest of the centre, this  area is named for the navigli, the canals that were once ubiquitous in this former port area.

Today they are running with crystal clear water – thanks to recent funding due to Expo 2015. I even saw fish jumping clear from the surface!

Once the canals formed a 150 km long network that connected the city with the rivers and lakes in Lombardy. They were used for irrigation; provided the city with water and were ideal to transport people and goods.  

The marble used for the construction of the Duomo was transported via these canals. Along the way pizza was served. As it was to me, that evening after my work was done.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Milan and the tomb of the Kings

Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio  - peaceful

The Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio is just up the street from where I was staying and on the route of tram 3 to the city centre. This holy place is in the Romanesque style.

I had to pop in before the taxi arrived to whisk me back to the airport. 

The Church was for many years an important stop for pilgrims on their journey to Rome because it was said to contain the tomb of the Three Magi or Three Kings.

In the 1200's the relics of the Magi were seized and afterwards taken to Cologne. 
Only in the 1900’s were some of the bones and garments sent back to Sant'Eustorgio's.

Inside was cool and peaceful. Several people were making their devotions and in the Sanctuary priests were fussing around the lectern preparing for Mass.  

I made a drawing and then my supplications in a side chapel.

Today the pieces of the Three Magi rest in the Three Kings altar and in memory of Magi, a star instead of the traditional cross adorns the bell tower.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Creative Sketching Making a contribution

Friend, tutor and mentor Ilga Leimanis  has contributed working a couple of chapters for this book. She thought some of my architecture drawings from overseas would work quite well and me to contribute one or two drawings. Which I was pleased to do.

Creative Sketching Workshop Available now at Waterstones and on Amazon

Ilga's contact point 

Here are my bits for the book 

Hong Kong from the Star Ferry

Singapore: Marina Bay

New York Mid Town West side

Riding through the gale past Castleman's Farm

Shipping Forecast: Gales all areas.
Shortened the Saturday morning ride,
However the sun did break through passing Castleman's Farm;
Castleman's Farm Wooburn Green near Beaconsfield 

A flock of finches dashed across the road without looking,

Four ducks flew overhead,

Past the pond a field of geese looked uncertain.

A Buckinghamshire field
A Red Kite circled in the other field,

St Mary's Church in silhouette.

Narrow lanes, tarmac that catches the sun's reflection:

Pale lemon to stronge orange.

Oh you Buckinghamshire.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

St Oswald’s Church in Farrow&Ballshire

A simple church gem: St Oswald's Widford

The other Friday I was out cycling with good chum Mike.

We peddled through Widford. Now a tiny hamlet, once a medieval village, the River Windrush hurries past it. We were a mile or so east of Burford in West Oxfordshire.
We set our bikes against an Oak and walked across the fields to the church of St. Oswald. This tiny single cell church is on the site or a Roman villa.  Until recently small area of Roman mosaic was visible in its chancel however this treasure has been carried off to Cirencester museum.
The church is a gem, it is the perfect counterpoint to the grand parish church of Burford. Inside all was delightfully gloomy on a dull November day.
In his wonderful book England's Thousand Best Churches
Simon Jenkins comments

‘The essence of Widford is simplicity. The pulpit appears to have been made from an old screen. The box pews are Georgian, the communion rail Jacobean.’

Sunday 15 November 2015

St Mary’s, a sweet spot near Slough

Plans have been laid for the return trip to St Mary's

The church of St Mary's was locked so I was not able to go inside and see the Kedermister Library, given by the local landowner Sir John Kedermister in the 1600’s.

On an overcast day I contented myself with exterior sketch.

Only today I discover that the churchyard is the resting place of artist Paul Nash one of my favourite painters of the 1930’s and 40’s.

Plans have been laid for the return trip to Langley in the borough of Slough.  I am in contact with the Vicar who is keeper of the keys.

In his wonderful book England's Thousand Best Churches Simon Jenkins comments, referencing St Mary's being only five minutes from the M4,

‘This is a church for connoisseur church-hunters. The setting could hardly be less promising. Yet here lies one of the gems of English Church art’

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Zinnias keep marching on!

Zinnias rule!
Here we are well into November and on Saturday the garden was buffeted by winds gusting up to 28 knots. These Zinnias stood their ground. God Bless them. And now they grace my desk.  

We have enjoyed great success with the slender, colourful and plucky flower this year in the garden and on Sian's allotment. Lucky lucky us!

Friday 6 November 2015

Between Aberaeron and Aberarth

Norfolk in Mid Wales 

Ruth: “Now I’m walking along the edge of fields, along a clearly defined path through dried grasses and scrub, beside the shingle beach. This reminds me of Norfolk. Flat, low-lying land.”

Norfolk is where Ruth's walking tour of the British coast started,on 18th April 2010. 
'I am going to walk around the coastline of the British mainland. Starting in North Norfolk, I will head clockwise around the coastline, following paths and tracks'

See the full story here

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Along the path to Ceredigion

Onwards, onwards 

Aside from a cliff top path that appears to go on forever, Ceredigion's 50 miles (80 km) of coastline has sandy beaches. In 2011 Ceredigion's beaches were awarded 5 Blue Flag Awards, 4 Green Coast Awards, and 14 Seaside Awards and has been explored by Ruth Livingstone.
Another pic from me as Ruth's Artist in Residence

“I am going to walk around the coastline of the British mainland. Starting in North Norfolk, I will head clockwise around the coastline, following paths and tracks” RUTH LIVINGSTONE

See the full story here